I am not what one would
call a Trekkie. At the very least, I wouldn't call myself a Trekkie.
I like Star Trek, and am a fan of the first three series of the
franchise. The original is a classic that helped to define a lot of
what I know of sci-fi, as well as also being a cool inspiration for
real world technology (from the basics of cell phones to pocket
sized computerized devices...even the more far out ideas like
transporters and warp drive are under various levels of scientific
research). I was even more of a fan of The Next Generation. It was
the Trek that spoke to me, being a kids of the 80's and 90's. I even
enjoyed Deep Space Nine, with particular emphasis on the final few
After that, Star Trek
seemed to die in many ways for me. Voyager was crap, and no lecture
from any Trekkie will ever change that opinion. I also just couldn't
get in to the Enterprise idea.
I say all of this to
explain where I'm coming from when I watched Star Trek (the new
movie) this weekend. I am a fan of the material, but I'm not
attached too strongly to the cannon. I'll never have a debate if The
Menagerie is one episode or two (like the Trekkie's on South Park
once did), or start quoting episodes by number like Fry did on
Futurama. I like the show and the concepts, but I'm not obsessed.
So, with that in mind, I
cannot call Star Trek the best movie that could have been. It is not
what I'd think of as deserving something around the upper 90% range
on Rotten Tomatoes. It is a solid C movie to me. In other words,
it's a good movie, but not one I'd go out of my way to see a second
time. I will probably not buy the DVD, I doubt I'd rent the DVD, and
at most I may watch it on cable if it's a boring day.
My big problem with the
movie is that it seemed to try too damned hard at the fan service
sector. Famous quotes ("I've given her all I've got...she can't take
anymore!", "Dammit , I'm a doctor not a !")
are crammed into a script in all the wrong ways. It's done simply to
evoke a reaction from the audience. Namely, it's done to get a cross
between a loud laugh and a "I knew he'd say that!" While it's good
that the movie tried to keep the source material in mind, it doesn't
mean things must be forced. I mean there is just too much that is
forced into this script. I won't even touch on the forced jokes
about Chekhov's accent.
Most of all, the movie
just didn't make sense in too many ways. Why is it that the original
crew of the Enterprise is formed of two reasonably aged individuals
(Captain Pike is a generation older than Kirk, and a similarly aged
transporter chief) and a bunch of kids? The greatest newest ship in
Star Fleet, and it's ran like it's the Muppet Babies. I mean Spock
is hard to nail down on the age thing (with the Vulcan slower
aging), but by the end of the movie (after Pike and the Transporter
chief are removed from the situation) the crew on the bridge and
vital ship areas (engineering, etc.) range from 19
(really...Chekhov, a bridge officer is 19) to around the mid 20's,
with the only exception being Scotty. I can't tell how old Scotty is
supposed to be, but since he's played by Simon Peg, I'd assume mid
thirties. Is the future really this close to the whole Logan's Run
concept of removing the elderly from society?
Also, why is a 19 year
old who has so thick of an accent that the computer cannot even
understand him being allowed to serve on the bridge. Chekhov is more
of a liability on the bridge than an asset. Spare me the "he's a 19
year old genius" crap. If the computer fails to recognize his
requests, then he is not someone you want in an emergency.
However, the part I
found most unbelievable is how much the movie tried to force
slap-stick humor at every turn. I won't explain what happened, but
when Kirk was first getting on board the Enterprise, a good 95% of
the audience around me was in total "ROFLOL" mode. All I could think
was how Gene Roddenberry's zombie was overdue to rise from the grave
to seek vengeance on J.J. Abrams. Star Trek always used some mild
humor...but in a limited and controlled method. Unless you want to
count the brawl in Trouble With Tribbles as the norm, Star Trek
never entered a pure slap-stick style comedy attack.
The final thing that
hurt my head to watch was seeing how the original show was ignored
for the idea of where science should enter the sci-fi genre. The
original used a great deal of science to explain many basic ideas.
Many seemed far fetched at the time, but in the end these ideas
prove as either possible or at least as inspiration for real world
theories and creations. I don't think the idea of black holes, as
presented in the new movie, had this idea of plausibility in mind.
One minute a black hole is a safe thing that allows time travel,
while also being a thing to cause instant annihilation of anything
in space. The next minute it's a source of instant annihilation to
one object, but it will only cause a slow destruction to a smaller
and less stable of object. Can I get a rule book on how these black
holes work so the movie would stop seeming to be so random. Are
black holes the same thing as Deus Ex Machina? I mean they don't
look like the hand of a Greek or Roman god coming down to save a
playwright from a failed script, but it seems to have the same
effect. That effect being that they can do whatever is needed to
patch a hole or two in a script.
Anyway, the movie is not
all bad. I'd even say the casting of a few characters was brilliant
(Sulu, Sarek, and Pike), and the inclusion of Leonard Nimoy was
actually handled quite well (not just a cheesy cameo). This is, more
than anything, a popcorn flick. If you're not a Trek fan or if
you're a mindless Trekkie (who loves all things Trek), then this
movie is for you. You'll have all the forced quotes and slap-stick
humor to keep you happy. You'll also have a movie with almost more
of a Star Wars feel to it (action packed, with larger-than-life
characters that shout larger than cliché quotes, all while making
you laugh), which seems to mean it's more accessible. However, if
you're a fan of the good Trek, this may not be the ideal movie for
you. Yes, Trek fans should see it...just don't expect to have the
same reaction as the rest of the audience.
By the way, I'm
not even going to comment on the casting choice for Spock's mother.
Ok...one comment; I wonder who she slept with to get such an awkward
casting move done.
Being a person who
dislikes Disturbed, and having not been too enthralled by the Elvis
Costello and Steely Dan offerings, I only picked up the Social
Distortion three pack for Rock Band this week. I do enjoy a fair
amount of Steely Dan and Elvis Costello, but not the songs
First off, I just
have to comment, after seeing the expert guitar charts on youtube,
that I find the guitar tier levels for Steely Dan to be goofy. One
song is fourth tier (four dots), while the other is a six (devil
faces). The funny thing is that the fourth tier song looks more
challenging than the sixth tier one, and the sixth tier song doesn't
look like anything above an easy five. I mean it's like there was
some unspoken agreement between Harmonix and Steely Dan that said
we'd put one song at sixth tier just to compliment Bhodosatva's
(I know...I can't spell that song title) devil face tier. In
reality, none of these come close to sixth tier and the "harder"
song looks much easier than the "easier" song.
As for the Social
D pack...it's fun. However, it's still not hard by any means. There
are a couple of twists on Story of My Life and Ring of Fire. Usually
this twist is in the form of sudden (and not representative of the
actual playing) hammer-on or pull-off notes or a sudden rapid fire
blast before a series of chords. Even if reality is not 100% being
met with the fantasy of the game, these are fun expert guitar songs.
The only song that
will not offer any combo breaking challenges is Bad Luck. This song
is as straight forward as they come. It's simple and does represent
the actual guitar playing pretty well...are as well as I Was Wrong
does. Which is to say they made a good solid offering with the
anything, however, this three pack only makes me wish we could have
some of the real Social Distortion in Rock Band. By "real", I mean
the stuff that is not likely to find it's way on the radio or a
greatest hits album (all of these songs are on their greatest hits
album). Something like Like An Outlaw (For You), On My Nerves, Don't
Drag Me Down, Ghost Town Blues, or Drug Train would be a bit more
representative with some good speed and changing sounds to them. Not
to mention some far more gripping of lyrics.
Anyway, as a
Social D fan, I guess I will just be happy with what Harmonix
offers. As for the rest, I can go against the typical anti-Rock Band
stereotype ("learn to play a real instrument") and practice them on
I can't find, as of yet,
an official DLC announcement for Rock Band. At least not as I type
this. However, there was an email newsletter from Harmonix saying
that next week would see about a half dozen songs from Alice Cooper
coming next week. This is in addition to something like three songs
from Taking Back Sunday.
I could go without
the emo/screamo/whatever-o of TBS. I did try to listen to them since
Velveta is a fan (she calls them a "guilty pleasure"), and I just
couldn't get past the fact that all their songs sound identical. Not
to mention how all of their songs sound identical to the entire
genre (usually called, incorrectly, "emo") and catalogue that came
out for similar bands of the time. Anyway, if you want something to
compliment your Fallout Boy DLC, this would be a good choice.
As for Alice
Cooper...about freakin' time. I mean this is, if memory is with me
today, the artist that first got the tag "heavy metal" attached to
his work. While not the metal we'd think of in the modern age, it's
the type of rock that I always feel good getting for Rock Band.
Especially when it includes School's Out and I'm Eighteen.
Overall, even if
TBS is not what I'd call my cup-o-tea, this should be another fun
week with some good diversity...even if it only includes two
I've been playing a bit of the DS remake of Dragon Quest V. It's a
game I once played, and didn't get too far, on the SNES version. It
just didn't go well for me since, much like how DQ4 was a very
advanced NES game, DQ5 was a very archaic feeling SNES game. Even in
it's day, it felt more like a NES game that was a bit updated to
include more colors in the game's palette.
I mainly got this
DS port since I needed something portable to keep me entertained as
I get ready for a day of sitting around while my car gets worked on.
Since it's either stare into space, read outdated newspapers, or
play my DS, the choice was obvious. Well, there was the choice of
DQ4 or DQ5 on the DS, and DQ5 did win in the end.
The remake is
quite solid. It has the same basic game engine as DQ4 (DS), which
was an update to the DQ7 (PSX) engine. It's 3D, allows camera
rotation, and has definitely been visually improved. Also, the game
just runs smooth with a more refined interface like one would have
seen with the DQ7 and later era Dragon Quest titles.
I'm nearing the
point of how far I got in the game when I quit on the SNES
version...which is to say I'm still a bit early in the game. The
game is split into three generations (you as a kid, you as a adult,
and you as a father with two children) and I'm in that second
generation about now.
Anyway, since I'm
rambling I'll wrap this up.